This post has three parts. In the first, “The Lord,” I discuss the human impulse to worship. In the second, “The State,” I discuss the role of government. In the third, “The Election,” I discuss these things in the context of the 2012 Presidential Election, and some recent remarks by Governor Mitt Romney.
The word for “lord” derives from the phrase “loaf-ward” (in Old English: hlaf-weard). When the power to Give Law and the power to Feed are united in one man, the natural human response is worship.
This impulse is so strong you can make a religion of it.
The people of Israel called the bread manna (what sounds like, “What is it?) It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. Moses said, â€œThis is what the Lord has commanded: â€˜Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.â€™â€
“Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, â€œWe will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.â€
Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, â€œThis is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.â€
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, â€œTake and eat; this is my body.â€
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, â€œDrink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Fatherâ€™s kingdom.â€
This is the concern that Romney was channeling, and much of the professional left is outraged by, when he said:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter whatâ€¦These are people who pay no income tax.
It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that Mitt Romney was not the outcome of a specific election. Romney’s been in politics too long for anyone to seriously believe that he is ignorant of how politics works.
Rather, Romney was identifying the problem of uniting the Wealth-Giving and Law-Giving powers in one entity, the federal government. The natural human reaction is adoration of such a unity of power. Those who live under the Law and thru the Wealth bestowed upon them by the Wealth & Law Giver will adore it “no matter what.”
Of course the Hebrews in the Desert built their Golden Calf. Judas at the Last Supper sold Christ to the Priests. But these are the exception that prove the rule: not scraping before The Law and The Wealth is seen as weird, deviant, temporarily, and ghastly.
Now, this is not the darkest moment of the Republican. Obama is not some Mussolini-style monster: he won’t create a durable cult of personality or a network of concentration camps. We already had a monster like that in Franklin Roosevelt. And like Russia, and like China, and like Japan, and like Italy, and like the rest, we learned our lessons. We have Presidential term limits for a reason.
No matter who wins, in the next four years weâ€™ll be killing a lot of Muslims who are already irate at us and have it coming, turning the ship on our catastrophically awful public educational system, making sure people who are friends with high-level execs at Goldman Sachs donâ€™t lose money, and making sure that we have the Mexican and Asian workers we need while making people who donâ€™t want to compete feel good about themselves.
But there is a question: do have bias the discussion in favor of expanding the worshipers of the State — those who see the federal government as the Wealth & Law Giver – or do we bias it against that view?
Do we want a government we worship, or one we fear? Because if an individual give Law but not Wealth, the reaction is fear. You limit such a creature, distrust it, and chain it with cumbersome rules.
If the federal government is already your Lord, if it already combined the source of Law and Wealth for you, it’s probably bizarre to think of fearing it. Doing so would be just inhuman.
But if you’re not already dependent on it, if you want to keep your freedom, it probably seems ghastly to think of worshiping it.
That is part of what this election is about.